Sometimes I find calling London home gets a tiny bit stressful. Don’t get me wrong, there a very few places in the world I would rather live my life, but there are those rare occasions when I just have the impulse to get away from it all and lose myself in an adventure. So one sunny weekend that’s exactly what I did.
Under an hour’s flight from London Gatwick, Guernsey is an absolute jewel of an island set in the Channel Islands, 80 miles off the south coast of England. 80 miles might not be far, especially seeing as London is 40 miles wide, but it makes you feel like you on a whole different planet. Yes there are stills cars, and everyone speaks English and the currency is pound sterling but the pace of life is reduced tenfold compared to the one I’m used to at home.
I was staying in a 4 star hotel, with its own accompanying health spa and golf course, on the west coast of the island. I sat on my balcony with a well-deserved glass of wine and whilst watching the sunset over the ocean I couldn’t help to feel anything but relaxed. I must admit the hotel was absolutely superb and the cuisine on the island was stunning, but that wasn’t the reason I was here. I needed to blow off some steam and there’s where the next day came into play.
My itinerary for today consisted of a three-hour coasteering session. For those of you unfamiliar with the sport, coasteering is orienteering on the coast by land and by sea, so needless to say, as I sat in the taxi on the way to the bay, I was filled with nervous excitement at the prospect. Coasteering is obligatory for the true adventure seekers out there. There are different levels of difficulty so as to accommodate for every adventurer and the guides are amazing, they are so truly helpful you can tell how much they love their job. As my pre-requisite for this trip was to let out some stress I chose a more difficult black route instead of the easer blue or yellow options; and as we spent the next three-hours climbing, scrambling, jumping and swimming our way around some of Guernsey’s picture perfect southern coastline, I was completely lost in the moment, not giving a single thought to the trials and tribulations of London life. To be truthful I was actually quite sad when our session ended, however despite it being such a great experience, I had other activities to look forward to aside from coasteering.
That afternoon I headed into the town centre on Guernsey’s east coast and made the short ferry trip across to the island of Herm. Looking like something you’d see in Pirates of the Caribbean with white beaches and the bluest water, I sat on the sand and treated myself to a bit of relaxation in the sun before heading back to the port so I didn’t miss my boat!
The next morning, after what I like to call a recovery breakfast, I set off for my next 3-hour session, however this time I was going ocean kayaking from Smart Start Kayaking. Again tailored to the group’s experience and ability, our guide took us out on an awe inspiring journey, once again set around Guernsey’s southern cliffs. The next three hours flew past as we dived in and out of caves, surfed the swell through gullies, sat with the local wildlife and overall just felt free. Coming from a big city it is not often you feel, and I mean it in every sense of the word, truly free. It was such a liberating experience, I sort of felt humbled by it all.
I didn’t have time to dwell on it though as I was back off into town to catch another boat, this time to the island of Sark. Like Herm, Sark doesn’t allow cars on the island, aside from the necessary tractor and few quad bikes, thus providing a tranquil paradise. Given it’s a bit bigger than Herm it’s a better idea to travel around Sark by bicycle, which you can hire when you walk off the ferry, and that’s exactly what I did; soaking up the sunshine, and local cider, on an afternoon spent in bliss. Unfortunately though my time here had to come to an end as I had to head back to the boat and get back across Guernsey in order to pack for my flight home the next day.
This is only the start though, as Guernsey is packed with activities for all people of all levels to enjoy from abseiling to coastal walks; paintballing to sailing; and of course the resident surf school at Vazon beach, and much, much more. I only wish I could have spent some more time, and energy, trying out all of these things.
For anyone looking to escape it all for a few days I urge you to take a weekend break to Guernsey and try something new, even if you just need to drop your stress levels or recharge the batteries. I for one know I’m heading back sooner rather than later!
Emma Williams is an avid traveller and loves visiting new and exotic places. She works to travel and loves to spend as much time exploring as possible. Check out her blog at www.travelbagel.com